On Saturday August 18, 2012 at 12:29:56 AM, I deactivated my Facebook account. Apparently, if my downloaded Facebook archive is correct, I was on Facebook for 5 years, 9 months, and 17 days (since December 1, 2006). In that time, I had around 1,350 "friends" while in Dallas until 2010. When we moved to San Antonio, I deleted about 300 of those friends. Tonight, I ended with 1,235 friends. How many of them do I talk to, or even take time to keep up with? A couple dozen maybe.
I don't say that to brag. I say that to say how out of control things can get. I have a home with a wonderful wife, three great kids, and an old dog. I have a job I love with interesting people that demands a great deal of my time and attention. I have friends and family that I can actually talk to or write to using other forms of electronic communication or (gasp!) go to see in person, or perhaps even write an old fashioned letter.
If someone wants or needs to find me, they can google my name. I'm all over the place.
I guess more than anything, Facebook has become a place where I have to censor myself, or else get into endless debates when I post something provocative (in a paragraph or less). In a soundbite culture, debate and discussion simply become sloganeering. The format of facebook does not reward (or really even allow) the development of complex thought, or nuance, or examination of data.
The other thing that Facebook was for me was a marketing tool. I started it as youth minister and college minister as a way of marketing the ministries I ran, and establishing virtual pastoral connections with my flock. But I can't do that anymore, because policy here does not allow that. And that distance, I think, is actually a good thing. Furthermore, using social media to promote myself and my ministry always felt like a violation of myself. Like I was prostituting myself. Like I was trying to be a "friend" without being who I really am, because I was always editing and nuancing what I wrote to be marketable to others.
So, if I don't want to "market" myself anymore, or constantly worry about my "nuance", or to get in an argument because I posted about ideas and events that seem compelling to me, it seemed like there was little left for me to do on Facebook. The smartest thing seemed to be to limit myself to posting personal pics, or fluff, or more often than not, nothing at all.
And that's just not that valuable or interesting for me or anyone else.
And so, if I want a format where I can post substantive essays when I desire it, or I can post lots of pictures and personal stuff when I desire it, I figured there is another place I could go. And it's been here all along. And I am typing on it right now.
It's this blog.
Since January 8, 2005 I have been on this blog. If people want me, they can find me. It's hooked to my Gmail account, my Google+ account, and through them to my macBook, iPad, and iPhone.
So, I guess that's my rationale for de-activating my Facebook account. I haven't made the deletion permanent yet. I figure I will decide that next summer. But for now, I am going to see how life goes without Facebook. I think I can imagine life after Facebook. I can certainly imagine less distraction!
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.